How should I care for and clean my serger?


On Monday this week we listed 4 reasons why you should own a serger. Perhaps you already own one? So today, we thought it might be good to review the proper care & cleaning of your serger. We all need a gentle reminder from time to time so we offer this post as it contains good information to help us keep our valuable sewing equipment working in tip top condition…….proper housekeeping is SO important.

So the question is: How do I care for and clean my serger? 

It is obviously all important to show some care and attention to your serger to have it keep working for you the way you have come to expect and love. It needs to be cleaned and oiled regularly. This is even more important with sergers as the cutting of the fabric edge creates a lot more lint ….the fluff that collects is worse than the dust bunnies under my sofa – Really! 

The top brush is what comes with many of our machines. Do yourself a favour and purchase a more effective one – bottom one in the pic as it makes a world of difference.

Try to make it a firm habit to dust off and clean out your serger after completing each serger project.  Use your lint brush. The one that comes with the serger is OK but I prefer a larger one as its gets further into the spots that the smaller one does not necessarily reach. (see pic above). Resist using those canned air products as all you may do is force the lint further into the recesses of your serger where you probably will not be able to reach.

Removing the needle plate

Remove needle plate and clean well with a good size brush.

About once a quarter, we suggest you do a bigger clean up:  remove the stitch plate or needle plate and clean out the lint that builds up under that and on your feed dogs.  Follow the instructions in your manual for how to remove the needle plate on your particular model or ask your local dealer to show you how to do this.

Clean the cutting knife – now this is where I think I came undone!

Lower the blade. Consult your manual or your dealer if you are not sure about how to do this although you should know if you took your owner;s classes as we tell you often! Once the upper blade is lowered, it lets you get in to clean between the upper and lower blades – the part that gets a lot of action! This is apparently the part I missed and learned to my detriment how crucial it is. I had been oiling well but somehow the oil mixed with the lint and “glued” my lower blade so it stuck. Not good.

Remember to raise the upper blade back up into cutting position once you have done all your “housekeeping”.

Yellow arrow points to upper blade. Orange arrow points to lower blade….and yes I need to get my brush busy cleaning away all that lint!

Oiling a serger:

You would not drive your car for many years without oiling and so it is with your serger (and sewing machine). It may eventually seize if you don’t oil it.

  1. Check with your dealer what is the best/correct oil for a serger. There should have been a little bottle that came with your serger but once you use that up, do check with your dealer to ensure you buy the correct product.
  2. If you oil too much and/or too often, that is as bad as too little/never. The oil will attract all the fluff like a magnet and grime will build up pretty quick in just the part of your serger which is doing the most work. So do avoid this.
  3. If you hardly ever use your serger, the oil will dry up faster than if you use your serger regularly. Think about it this way: if you park your car outside your house but only get into it and drive once every 2 -3 years, would you expect it to work well for you? I don’t think so.  So, if you last used your serger several years ago, it is time to oil.
  4. If you serge regularly like I do, oiling after each major cleaning would be wise.
  5. There are only two points that need oil on most sergers:  and both are on the looper shaft. If in doubt, look at the diagram located on the machine. and note the arrow in our pic below.

Arrows show where to oil your serger. Your serger may be slightly different to this one so check with your dealer where your oiling points are.

Changing Needles

I think we are all guilty of forgetting to change out our sewing machine needles. Probably even more so with our sergers?

  • Check with your manual and/or your local Jnaome dealer to establish what is the correct needle type for your serger. Some of our sergers require a EL needle (which is elongated as the EL suggests). It is essential you use these as the looper threads may not get picked up if the needles are too short. This causes skipped stitches and you wont be happy with that.
  • The size and type of needle is usually determined by your project needs. The smallest size needle you should use in a serger is size 70. This is because you need a sturdy needle in a serger which sews very fast and could deflect and break easily if too small a needle.
  • On the other side of the coin, dont use  aneedle larger than a size 90 as you may affect the clearance between the loopers and that could lead to problems. Size 80 is probably about right for most projects.
  • Change your needles about once  a month depending on how much serging you do. Serger needles do last a little longer than sewing machine needles – as a general rule.
  • Do not serger with bent needles. Change those right away.

Regular Service

Back to the anology of your car: you would regularly take your car to the shop to be serviced – especially if the car is sounding different or not operating the way you expect. Same with a serger: if you keep breaking needles, get skipped stitches or ride over a pin with your cutting blade, then it is probably time to take it to your local Janome dealer to be serviced. We recommend at least once a year is the general rule for a service at your dealer – with you doing regular “housekeeping” in between.

And BTW, the best thing I ever did with my serging was to stop using pins altogether. I had too many near misses or collisions with my blade. But since I started using Wonder  clips for all my serging, I am one happy camper. Less nerve wracking and so easy.

Our wonderful NEW Air Thread serger

Ask your local Janome dealer for Madeira AEROLOCK thread for your serging. Distributed by Janome in Canada







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4 reasons why you need a serger.

Can’t make up your mind on whether to add a serger to your sewing machine collection? Here are 4 signs to help you decide:

Do you sew mostly garments?

Let’s face it, unfinished garment seams, especially on woven fabrics, aren’t durable over time. Eventually the fabric will fray, showing the unfinished edges and sometimes your seams will start to unravel. (That’s the beginning of the end for your handmade garment!)

If you look at your store-bought clothes you will most likely notice the flawless edge of the seams. This is where the brilliant work of an overlocker comes into play – it stitches and trims away excess fabric along the edge all at once!

The serger can be set up to complete many finishes by simply adjusting the settings to suit your project. Investing in a serger will make your garments stand the test of time, while making them look professionally constructed.

Do you have limited time to sew?

Granted, not all of us are full-time home sewists. Some of us are lucky if we can have an uninterrupted stitching session while the kiddos are napping, or manage to sew straight after getting home from our full-time job. If your sewing time is limited, a serger can help you whiz through your projects quickly and efficiently.

A serger can be used for many finishes including construction of garments, through to finishing off the edges of fabric that will then be seamed on the sewing machine. In particular, the serger is useful for knit and stretch fabrics, as it helps to guide and seam these fabrics that are often difficult to sew using a sewing machine.


Do you have trouble with the edges of your seamed fabrics rolling after sewing with the sewing machine?

Does the fabric rolling in the seam allowance on the edge of your knit garment drive you batty? If you have experienced this before, you will know that it becomes difficult to sew other intersecting seams and creates an unnecessary bulk to your work.

Sergers can help with this issue as the knit/stretch fabrics feed through with the help of the differential feed and allow you to create a nice flat seam allowance. Your waistbands and side seams will look a lot neater and sit more comfortably when you wear your garment.

Do you enjoy sewing home décor or accessorizing your home?

The serger can be used for more than just garment sewing. Have you ever wanted to work with fabrics that might end up needing to be washed or used frequently, and you worry about how they will cope?

The serger can be perfect for this as you can finish the edges of your pillows and other home dec. items so that they are reinforced and secure for laundering and daily use. With a serger, you can stitch up lovely rolled hems to finish off your table linens, gathers for beautiful ruffles on pillows and so much more! The extra strength that is given when using the serger on the seams allows for a longer life to your handmade sewing projects.

One thing is for sure, once you decide to invest in a serger, it quickly becomes very difficult to imagine life without it! A serger can be the perfect addition for everyone. Contact an authorised Janome dealer today for a demonstration on the range of Janome sergers to see how much your sewing experience can be improved with this versatile machine.

Information courtesy of Janome Australia

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Pic courtesy of Creative Machine Embroidery magazine

Do you struggle with positioning your designs EXACTLY where you want them to be on your projects? Whether this is a beautiful garment like in the pic above or on a towel or quilt block? Are your designs often a bit “off”? Want to get your embroidered projects much more accurate and professional?

This video tutorial from Janome America will offer some very valuable advice and a HOW TO of using Janome AcuSetter App. It is about 17 minutes long so sit down, enjoy a cup of coffee and learn along with Janome!

And here is another video on AcuSetter app.  

Janome AcuSetter App is compatible with our WIFI enabled Janome embroidery machines : the MC15000 and Skyline S9. There are other methods of ensuring perfect placemtn such as using our Janome CLOTHSETTER – which works on ALL our embroidery machines.  This video shows how to get precise placement with the Janome Mc10000 but the same principle works with other Janome clothsetters for Janome MC11000 and later, current Janome embroidery models as well as the Universal clothsetter.

Pic courtesy of Embroidery Library




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Ambience Quilting – Artistic Digitizer 1.5

I’ve got another new feature of Artistic Digitizer 1.5 to share with you today! It’s called Ambience Quilting, and it’s absolutely lovely for embellishing your embroidered blocks.

Sometimes when we spend a lot of time on embroidering something, we are afraid to quilt around it in case we mess it up. But when you have digitizing software, we can let go of our FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and create beautiful quilting designs around your embroidery and appliques.

After you have embroidered your design, don’t remove it from the hoop! You want it to stay there so that you can easily stitch the quilting.  And I like to use a bigger hoop than what is necessary for my embroidery so that I can put some batting and backing underneath it and secure it with my magnets.

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Design from Re18 Hoop, available from your dealer.

So this is the design I’m working with today, a really pretty medallion from the RE18 hoop collection. I want to quilt around it, so I selected the design, clicked on the ‘Convert’ tool and chose ‘Ambience Quilting’.

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The next thing that opens up is a box containing all kinds of options for Ambience Quilting.

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Options box for Ambience Quilting

It will select an appropriate size for the quilting portion of the design. I usually will change those numbers so that my quilting can fill the hoop that I am using. There are three types of background quilting you can choose: Echo, Scroll and Stippling.

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Echo Quilting

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Scroll Quilting (it’s like a continuous echo)

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All of these quilting options can be edited, as well, from the Fill option of the Properties box, usually located on the right side of your screen. You can edit the density (how close the lines are together), the distance off set (or away) from your original design, and even choose decorative stitches if you want. Really, the possibilities are endless.

Screenshot (574)_LI

Now, I know you are dying to see this in “real life”, so here are some pics of some samples I did. But I can’t show you the whole thing lol, it’s a top secret design that will be showcased in our booth at Quilt Canada in June!


There’s a tiny bit of wash-away stabilizer peeking out here, I like to use it when embroidering really dense stitchouts.


You can click here to see the video on the steps to follow in Artistic Digitizer.

Until next time,


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Janome wins another iF Design Award

iF Design Award Winner

Was there any doubt? Janome’s Continental M7 is this year’s winner of the world-renowned design prize, the 2020 iF DESIGN AWARD. Each year thousands enter. Only a select few are chosen.

For over half a century, the iF DESIGN AWARD has been recognized as an arbiter of quality for exceptional design. The iF label and its iF DESIGN AWARD are renowned worldwide for outstanding product designs and services. This is one of the most important design prizes in the world. The competition was intense: 7,298 entries were submitted from 56 countries in hopes of receiving the prestigious seal of quality. Janome’s Continental M7 was chosen by a 78-member jury, made up of independent experts from all over the world as this year’s product iF DESIGN AWARD winner.

The M7 is an industry leading home market sewing machine that provides advanced users an expansive sewing area and is at the top it’s class. Together with a hybrid exterior body which utilizes a combination of resin and die-cast metal to enhance sewing quality, the Continental M7 Professional delivers function and reliably that are unmatched for sewing and quilting. This award winning sewing and quilting machine expands the possibilities for creative expression.

> 2020 iF Design Award – Learn More:

And here is a video  


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Convert To Floral – New Feature for Artistic Digitizer 1.5

We recently got an update to Artistic Digitizer, which is our embroidery digitizing software. Today I want to tell you all about one of my favourites: Convert to Floral.

I can’t tell you in words how much I love this tool. It has so many options, it really is limitless. The uses for things created with Convert to Floral are also limitless. Like potpourri sachets for drawers, or gorgeous yokes on garments. I could go on and on. This is how to use it:

First open up Artistic Digitizer. Then go to Tools =>Clipart Libary =>Insert Clipart

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You can also draw your own shape using the Shapes tool. Once the Clipart Library opens, enter “heart” into the search bar at the bottom.

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Choose heart2, it’s the simplest shape for a heart in the libary.

The next thing to do is to click and drag your shape to your desired size. It can be tiny, or giant. It all depends on the size of your hoop and your imagination.

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When the shape reaches the size you want, just let go of the button and it will place it into the hoop.

After your shape is there, you can then center your design in the middle of your hoop. This is also a new feature, called Center to Hoop. It’s found under the exporting tool in the main toolbar.

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Do you see how there is a blue box around the heart? That means that you have the heart selected (this is what you want, don’t panic!). While it is still selected, find the Convert tool on the main toolbar. It’s right beside the export tool (which will say To MC15000 or whichever machine you plan to send the design to).

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Under Convert, click on “Create Floral”

The ‘Convert’ tool has a few options available, and for this exercise, I want you to choose Create Floral. This is going to open up a new box for you to make some more choices. (Stay tuned for later this week to see how Ambience Quilting works!)

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Create Floral library

This new box that opens allows you to choose any combination you wish of flowers and leaves, and there is even a bird or a butterfly you can choose! Make your choices, and then click Ok. You will be so amazed at what happens next.

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Voila! A totally random generation of your chosen flower and leaf. There are infinite combinations available, it will turn out different every time. Even if you enlarge the heart, it will automatically rearrange the layout to fit the shape best.

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Properties Sidebar

You can edit the type of fill, the number of times it branches off from the main stem (levels), how long you want the branches to be, how many curves, flowers etc. The possibilities for what you can make with this tool really has no limit. I just really, really love it. One day I want to make a table runner just with different combinations of the flowers and vines.

We will be eagerly watching janomelife for this, janomegirl! Ed.


Now, you know me, right? It’s always easier to understand how it works when you can see it in action. So click here for my latest video on Artistic Digitizer.

Until next time,


……….who is available for fun and easy to understand classes at our Janome Canada dealers’stores  – ask your Janome Dealer to contact Liz at JCA Education to book a store event with Janomegirl where you can learn SEW much more about Artistic Digitizer and more! Ed



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Free Motion and Variable Zigzag Features: What’s the Difference?


NOTE: These features are available on both the Janome MC9400 and the Janome MC9450 as well as on the Janome MC15000 and on our NEW Continental M7 Professional. 

There are two features on the Janome MC9450 that look very similar to one another but are significantly different. These are the Free Motion Zigzag feature and the Variable Zigzag feature. I recently did two videos showing how to set these up on the Janome MC9450 but wanted to explain the differences so you’ll understand how they work and can decide which feature will work best for you in your project.

Let’s first consider the Free Motion Zigzag feature. As its name indicates you will use this feature when you are free motion quilting. Your machine will be set up the same as you do for free motion quilting (with the exception that you will use the zigzag needle plate) but rather than quilting with a straight stitch, as you usually would, you’ll be able to zigzag quilt. Yes, that is a new term: “zigzag quilt”. 😉

Janome quilting screen

Both the Free Motion Zigzag and Variable Zigzag Features are found under this icon

With the Free Motion Zigzag feature on the Janome MC9450, you’ll be able to adjust the stitch settings for the width of the zigzag stitch, just as you would with a “normal” zigzag stitch. You can choose between 0 and 9mm. The difference is when you start to stitch. Remember, you are free motion quilting so you are in control of the length of the stitches. You can have an open zigzag stitch or a very dense, satin-stitch-like stitch. When using this stitch, you can vary the length of the stitches, but the width of the stitches will remain constant (you set that up before you started stitching, remember?).

Janome FM ZZ screen 1

In the Free Motion Zigzag feature area

As you are free motion quilting, you can stitch these zigzag stitches wherever you want on your project, creating different shapes, but the width of the stitches will always be whatever you initially set them up to be. For more information on setting up your Janome MC9450 for the Free Motion Zigzag feature, click here.

Janome free motion zigzag close up

Stitching using the Free Motion Zigzag feature

In contrast, using the Variable Zigzag feature on the Janome MC9450 is not constant at all!

Janome variable ZZ screen 2

In the Variable Zigzag feature area

As the name suggests, there is a lot of variability going on when using this feature. When using the Variable Zigzag feature, you are still free motion quilting, having your Janome MC9450 set up for this technique. The difference with this feature is that you control both the width and the length of your stitches. You are able to adjust the width of the zigzag stitches to a maximum width of 9mm but the width as you stitch is controlled by your knee lifter. For example, you could adjust the stitch width to 7.5 and this is the widest that the zigzag stitch could be as you stitch along.

Here’s how it works. As you stitch along, you can make the stitch width wider or narrower by pressing against the knee lifter. As with the Free Motion Zigzag feature, you control the length of the stitches by how fast you are moving your quilt sandwich under the needle but with the Variable Zigzag stitch, you also control the width of the stitch by using the knee lifter. To see how to set up your Janome MC9450 with the Variable Zigzag feature, click here.

Janome variable zigzag

Results from using the Variable Zigzag feature – I call it “heartbeat” stitching!

When would you use these features on the Janome MC9450 and which one would you use? The Free Motion Zigzag feature would work well for doing decorative work along garment edges or in quilt borders. You have the ability to lengthen the stitches to give some interest to your work.

Judy Leslie of BC won a ribbon for this quilt. Judy is a multiple ribbon winner and this one entitled “Spring on Castle Mountain” (near Osoyoos) was pretty striking with its 3D wool felted work and intricate and beautiful thread painting.

The Variable Zigzag feature on the Janome MC9450 would work well for thread painting. When doing this technique, you don’t want the different threads to butt against one another. You want them to bleed into each other so that the change in thread colour isn’t noticeable. The Variable Zigzag feature would work perfectly in this situation.

Quilt by Anne Marie Irving of SK: fabric has been hand painted, and then embellished with free motion quilting thread painting

I hope you’ll try these two features on your Janome MC9450 and share your results with me.

Happy creating from Kim Jamieson-Hirst, a Janome Canada Artisan in Calgary, Alberta.

Posted in Janome Horizon MC9450QCP, Variable Zig zag | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Spotlight on Janome’s Horizon Link Suite software Part 3: Pattern Combo Tool

Continuing our series on Janome’s fabulous software program Horizon Link Suite, for the Janome MC 15000 Quiltmaker, (and versions 1 and 2 of the Janome MC15000), today’s topic is Pattern Combo Tool.

Horison link suite ebit combo

To review Part 1 and Part 2 on this series, click on the link HERE. You can also use the SEARCH box on the Janome Life main page and, be sure to sure to click the FOLLOW button there so you don’t miss a post!

When you click on Pattern Combo Tool, the main screen opens with a selection of stitch patterns typically used for “Applique”. They should look very familiar as they are all the applique stitches built-in to the Janome MC 15000 Version 1, 2 and Quiltmaker.

Pattern Combo Tool 1

Click on Ordinary Patterns at the top left and a pop-up window comes up with all the stitch categories built-in to the machine. I have Quilt selected so displayed is all the quilting stitch patterns in that category.

Pattern Combo 6

Pattern Combo 7

Pattern Combo Tool lets you combine the stitch patterns, including fonts, built-in to the machine into a sequential pattern which can be stitched out as one unit, or one big pattern. Up to 100 stitch patterns can be created in one line. The new pattern combinations can be sent to the machine either by direct cable connect, which comes included with the machine, or by USB memory stick. It’s much faster and easier creating quilt labels this way! Any of you who have attended some of my education events know that I initially bought my Janome MC 15000 (version 2) solely to embroider quilt labels!That’s how much of a big deal they are to me, lol!

The joy of using Horizon Link Suite is that you can use ALL the design and editing capabilities built-in to the sewing machine AWAY from the machine itself. Isn’t that amazing?!

Click on the icon at the top left of your screen and a pop-up window will open. Click Stitch Chart to see 3 pages of ALL the stitches and fonts for combining. (This is also in the back of your machine manual)

Red ArrowPattern Combo 3Pattern Combo 4Pattern Combo 5

Speaking of the manual, Page 64 -72 describes the steps of programming, editing, and saving a pattern combination while at the machine. If you happened to have lost the manual, or infamously, “the dog ate it,” you can download the Janome MC 15000 Quiltmaker manual from and/ or Many machine manuals can be found under the SUPPORT tab, MANUALS. There’s even a “Retired” section for older machines no longer in production. I found the manual for my very first little 28 year old entry level Janome machine in this section, so it’s worth having a look!

Support Manuals

When you open Pattern Combo Tool, click on the little blue question mark at the top right of your screen and you’ll see a built-in instruction manual, which, if you’re like me, you’ll want to print and put into a binder for easy reference later on. Horizon Link Suite; Pattern Combo Tool, is not a difficult program to learn and use; many just don’t use it often enough for it to really sink into the brain, so reading the manuals step-by-step really does help refresh the memory!

Pattern Combo 10

Basically, select the stitch patterns you want, from whatever category you want, in whatever Pattern Combo 11order you want, (up to 100!). I selected #4 from Play, #3 from Pictograph, #3 from Long and #22 from Play.

You can also choose any of the fonts built-in to the machine by selecting the Monogram tab across the top tool bar. Adjust the size of the letters; small, medium or large; adjust the spacing,; add symbols, or combine them with all the other stitches. It’s unlimited creativity at your fingertips!Pattern Combo 12

Another pretty amazing feature is that each of the chosen stitch patterns can be edited  separately, just as they can be on the machine. The shoe (one of my favourite stitch patterns, by the way) is selected (the little dots are under it and it’s highlighted in red) and you can see the default settings in the Adjust Window on the right. This is basically like the little UP arrow on your machine.

Pattern Combo 13

Here you can adjust the width, length, tension, etc. and reset to default if unhappy with the changes.

Click on the link HERE for Part 2 where I show the steps of saving designs to a USB flash drive in order to bring them into the machine.

Below is a photo of the newly created stitch pattern on my machine.


I could have taken the time while at the machine to select the little 3 hearts icon at the top left of the screen, which is the “Program Pattern Combination” button, and scrolled through each of the categories to create the same thing, but for me, it was faster and easier to do it while laying on the sofa with my laptop, and perhaps more convenient, too. I spend a lot of nights in hotels travelling for work and often don’t have access to my machine, but I can always be designing and creating on my laptop with Horizon Link Suite Pattern Combo Tool! With Janome, you always have SEW many options to do whatever works best for YOU!

As always, it pays to do a test stitch first to be sure you’re happy with the results. Note the piece of tearaway stabilizer under my fabric which helps support those decorative stitches. Save all your scraps from embroidering for this purpose!IMG_5419Join me next time when I’ll continue our Spotlight on Janome’s Horizon Link Suite, by delving into AcuFil Tool, which turns your embroidery machine into a QUILTING machine!

In the meanwhile, Happy Sewing!

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Beat the Winter “Blues”

Pic courtesy of

We are now officially in the thick of winter. If you are like me, the months of January  and February are spent dreaming of last year’s hot holiday, and this year’s summer vacation. Fall is so busy, and by the time January & February comes, we need something different to think about! No doubt you have loads of scraps hanging around too. Well, have no fear, you can beat the Winter blues just like I did!

I had some lovely layer cake squares hanging around, in shades of blue with beautiful Shibori style art. (You may ask, what is shibori? Click here to learn more!) I also had some grey and white grunge style prints, perfect neutrals to coordinate with blues. So I came up with a set of placemats and table runner to beat the blues.

I had seen a set of similar placemats in a store, and thought to myself, I can make that. So I pulled out my piping foot, some cording, and my fabrics and set to work. Layer cake squares (10″ x 10″ pieces) are perfect for both small and large projects. They cut equally into 4 strips at 2.5″ each, so you can get lots of variety in your smaller projects. I cut up the squares into strips and set to making sets of 7 strips per placemat. Since they are just 10″ long, I knew they would need some other fabric added. This is when my memory of some lovely curved placemats popped back into my head. So I set to making piping.

Did you know that when you cut bias strips, they are perfect for piping around curves? Also did you know, that you don’t need to wrestle with a giant cut of fabric to cut bias strips? I used this very simple technique of a square piece of fabric, pressed and stiffened slighly, folded into a triangle like this:


Starting square, approximately 15″-16″.


First fold along the bias edge


Second fold, making a triangle. Make sure you cut on the edge that has one fold, not two folds.


I cut the first strip on the fold, which would be half the width (1″). This maximizes the area of your square.

Then I cut my strips at 2″. Since I was only doing placemats, joining them up on the 45 degree angle was really easy and not noticeable that the strips are short. After I made my piping, I laid the piping down on the placemat and arranged it so it looked nice, and then pinned. Notice that the piping is on top of the placemat. This makes attaching it so simple, because you don’t have to cut your curve first and then fiddle with sewing it in the right place.


I stitched the piping to the set of strips, and then cut the excess away leaving my curved seam. After that, I flipped the piping seam allowance to be underneath the strips and pressed really well. I did not baste at this point, as I wanted to include the final anchoring of this section in my quilting. Fun fact: This technique of anchoring an applique during the quilting process is called “Appli-Quilting”. It is so fun!


Stitching piping to strips


IMG_1184After the piping was attached, I pinned the strips to rectangles of background to form the full placemat size, approximately 14″ by 20″. I stitched the piping down the ditch (the ditch quilting sole plate for the Acufeed Flex is a must!), and then did some decorative stitches on both the strips and the plain background. Each placemat is quilted differently. Some basting on the edges of the strip sets helped everything stay in place. After the quilting was done, I squared them up to be all the same size and added binding using the Quilt Binder Set (that tool is a serious time saver. If you don’t have it, you need it.)


The table runner I made in the same way, and added some quilting with the embroidery machine to the open spaces. The orange peel motif is included in the machine, so I used Artistic Digitizer to create a grid of the design, and then deleted the ones as I didn’t want to create the whole design. I’m so please with how these turned out, they definitely beat the blues for me! And who doesn’t need a new set of placemats anyway!


Until next time,


Posted in Janome Home Decor sewing | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Embroidery for Weddings or Valentines? Plus tips on gathering a double ruffle for a pillow.

Our Janome 550E has some lovely new designs especially for the RE36b hoop – Janome’s biggest hoop! There a number of wedding inspired designs. Think bridal shower decorations… gifts……..Valentine’s day!

So without further ado, I offer up a cute little Valentine’s pillow.

Firstly, I edited/added to one of the wedding designs on the Janome MC550E: I added in the date using one of the fonts built into the Janome MC550E in the medium size. I then resized it a little more ( I think it was 15% bigger), rotated it and moved it until it was positioned where I wanted the date between the 2 horizontal lines. I then stitched the rest of the design as is in the Janome 550E RE 36b hoop.

I used silver Madeira metallic thread and am very happy to report that I did not have one single thread break during the embroidery or the decorative sewing (see below). I have long held the opinion that Madeira metallic is probably the best metallic thread on the market.  I was not disappointed this time either >>> It worked beautifully and gave me zero hassles – which is just the way I like it!

I then trimmed my embroidered block to the size I required for my romantic Valentine’s pillow. Approx 14 x 9 inches.

I also cut 2 sections for the back of the pillow which are to overlap: The 2 open edges were folded over twice, pressed and the sewed on the Janome Continental M7 with a straight stitch.

I rounded the corners of my pillow slightly on the front and back sections – just because I wanted that look and because I think that is easier than square corners when you have a 3-4 inch wide double ruffle to squeeze into a tight corner…… I’m all about easy and good looking results!

Next up was cutting 2x strips of fabric for my ruffle (Incidentally the fabric I used was a subtle silver print on white 100% cotton fabric). I cut these strips approx 8 inches wide by full width of fabric. I sewed them together on both the short ends and then pressed these seams open. Then I folded the ruffle over in half lengthwise with wrong sides together and pressed a nice fold along the edge.

Next up was to attach the satin stitch foot F to the Janome Continental M7 and select one of the satin stitches. I like this satin serpentine one (below) which I adjusted slightly to make it a little more dense – the Stitch length was 3.5mm instead of the default of 4.0mm.  Using the silver metallic thread and riding the edge of the F foot along the fold of the fabric ruffle, I stitched this satin stitch all the way around my circle of ruffle. I used white bobbin thread. Again, I am pleased to report I had zero thread issues –  Yay and thanks to Madeira for making such great metallic thread!

I then needed to gather up my ruffle. There are, of course,  several ways to do this. I chose to use a narrow, strong cord in the Cording foot H (middle groove) which I zig-zagged over with white thread in my needle.

I used a zig-zag width of 4mm so that it did not stitch through the cord. I sewed all the way around the edge which was the 2 raw edges of the fabric wrong sides together. The purpose was to “encase” the cord in the zig-zag stitching and then pull up the cord to gather the ruffle. It worked according to plan. Don’t you love it when that happens?!

I used Clover clips to attach my ruffle to the front of my pillow (the embroidered section) taking care to evenly distribute the gathers. TIP: allow a little more at the corners so that it does not bunch or pull later. Also ensure that the right side of the satin decorative stitching is right sides together with the embroidery of the pillow.

I stitched the ruffle to the pillow front before adding the back of the pillow. I figured 2 steps would be quicker in the long run than trying to get all those layers to stay together and not shift. That might have been tricky. Again, the plan worked. After the ruffle was attached, I layered the 2 back sections on top and stitched again all the way around the pillow. Neaten this seam if you wish with a zig-zag, machine overcasting stitch or with a serger.

Lastly, turn the pillow out to the right side and stuff with a pillow form or toy stuffing. My overlap on the back was quite big so I did not need a popper, Velcro, zipper or button to hold it closed. But you could always add this before attaching the back sections if you wish.


What will you be sewing for this Valentine’s day?

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